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  #11  
Old 09-18-2015, 11:50 PM
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Some good mentions so far...

Here's a few more...

In 1971 Ivan Koloff cleanly defeated Bruno Sammartino, dethroning Sammartino, the then WWWF Champion for the past 8 years. The crowd was stunned, the ref, fearing a legit riot didn't even give Koloff the WWWF Title, instead Koloff left the ring without the WWWF Title in his hands. People were crying and couldn't believe Sammartino lost the WWWF Title. For newer fans, picture the fans' reactions to the Lesnar vs Taker Wrestlemania 30 ending except that it was on a much bigger scale.

The full match of Koloff vs Sammartino
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNngXluEkRk

The other match is The Undertaker vs Hulk Hogan "The Gravest Challenge" at the 1991 Survivor Series. This match helped to solidify Taker as the #1 threat in the WWF, despite him only being in the WWF since the 1990 Survivor Series. Also, it helped to establish the Flair/Taker alliance, not to mention testing the fans' reactions to Taker as WWF Champion, especially considering that Hogan wouldn't be around all the time post 1991. I remember being 7 years old watching this match on my TV and being overjoyed when Taker defeated Hogan for the WWF Title with Flair's help. Also, it's interesting to note that while the crowd was split early on for Taker and Hogan, towards the last 5 minutes of the match the crowd sides more with Taker.

Full match-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYQ4bzY8msg
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  #12  
Old 09-19-2015, 07:23 AM
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Quite a few great ones mentioned.

For me, one that springs to mind, that hasn't been named yet, was Shawn Michaels defeating Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII in the Ironman Match to win his first WWF Championship; "the boyhood dream" came true.

Another one is Macho Man Randy Savage winning the vacant WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV. While not a traditional title change, this was one of the very, very few times in WWE history in which a tournament was held in which the tourney itself felt like it truly mattered. I don't think there were any particularly great matches, overall, during the tournament, but this was the first time in the title's, at the time, 25 year history it'd been vacant and Savage winning was one of those big, legendary WrestleMania moments.

Another one that springs to mind took place on February 20th, 1989 at the Chi-Town Rumble event where Ricky Steamboat won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Ric Flair. To me, Steamboat never struck me as a long term main eventer; he didn't have the personality, charisma or promo ability but we all know what a phenom he was inside the ring. This was during the time in which Flair & Steamboat were having that amazing, classic series of matches that are remembered today as some of the best of all time by many. Steamboat won the title and you could tell it was a big moment for him, the locker room emptied, fans were going nuts, etc. Steamboat will never be thought of as one of the all time great champs, he dropped the title back to Flair about 2.5 months later, but that was a highly memorable and iconic title change in my eyes.

Another one that probably hasn't reached "iconic" level, but one that probably will in years to come, is Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX. In terms of straight forward title changes, without MITB cash ins, it's arguably the most memorable one to go down in WWE since CM Punk dethroned Cena at MITB 2011. It was a great WrestleMania moment and it'll probably be considered a classic.
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2015, 12:03 PM
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December 9, 2001. The night wrestling got set on its' ear. Chris Jericho wins BOTH the WCW and WWF World straps. It forever changed the game at WWF. VKM loved his muscle-bound behemoths, his larger than life cartoon characters. Here comes a "regular guy" out of nowhere to defeat two of the most iconic men in wrestling at the time: The Rock and Steve Austin. It would give rise to the men who were not the "WWF-Type" to succeed in the company: Guerrero, Benoit, Misterio. Take away this night, and the entire history of pro wrestling would have been much different. You might not have even seen John Cena as champ, as he is really not the behemoth that VKM liked.
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2015, 03:19 AM
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Lots of great ones mentioned already.

John Cena Wins the WWE Championship (Wrestlemania 21)

The first of 15 for Cena, back when he wasn't the face of the company yet. He ended JBL's lengthy reign and started one of his own. Then, he went on to main event PPV after PPV until people got sick of him. But, 10 years later, John Cena is still the face of the company, a modern Hogan or Austin figure who will be Hall of Fame bound one day. And, on that note, Batista's win at WM 21 could also be thrown out there as iconic.

Randy Orton becomes the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion (TLC 2013)

Okay, it's technically the WWE title with a dissolved big gold belt in there somewhere, but when Orton beat Cena to unify both titles, it marked a moment not seen since Jericho's big night back in 2001. Granted, Orton and Cena were already in double digits of one-on-one encounters, so this match was less about them and more about the title unification itself, but it still stands as an important moment in recent WWE history.
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  #15  
Old 10-18-2015, 09:24 AM
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Chris Benoit beats HHH and Shawn Michaels at Mania 20

This will never be mentioned on WWE TV again, but it was an iconic moment no doubt. I remember the announcers going crazy over the "18 years" it took Benoit to win that title, and to do it in the main event of Wrestlemania by defeating two of the greatest ever was fitting. Throw in Eddie coming out and that makes this, sadly, one of the greatest Mania moments of all time.

Ultimate Warrior beats HTM for IC Title at Summerslam 88

May not be a World title win, but iconic nonetheless. Warrior answering Honkey's open challenge at Summerslam and ending the longest reign of all time in 30 seconds, shot him into the stratosphere. It put him right next to Hogan, which was seen as nearly impossible at this time.

Ron Simmons becomes first African American World Champion

Strictly iconic for this reason. Nobody remembers Simmons defeating Vader on this night, but they all know who the first black world champion in history was.
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  #16  
Old 10-18-2015, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishCanadian25 View Post
Looking back on it, Billy Graham dropping the WWF Title to Bob Backlund is legendary. It launched one of the longest and most historic World Title reigns in history, and given what a legend Graham was already, it set Backlund up as a success.

I'm gonna have to pretty strongly disagree with you on that one IC, as despite what modern WWE revisionism might try to make you believe, Backlund's reign was the furthest thing from a "success". Business IMMEDIATELY went down with him at the helm and it basically ended Vince Sr.'s tenure at the head of the company, as no one agreed with him putting the belt on Backlund and it took his son buying the company and putting the belt on Hogan to really turn things around again business wise. Backlund has always been a company man though so he gets the benefit of the WWE history rewriting machine. Backlund, though a very solid worker, had very little charisma as champion and was a totally unproven commodity when he took the belt, and the fans took note of that and responded by simply not coming out to shows anymore. I've always quite liked Backlund, but his reign was a disaster, not a success.

There are the really obvious ones--- Austin at WM14, Warrior at WM6, Hogan beating the Sheik at MSG, etc. But I'm gonna go in a different direction and go with Genichiro Tenryu defeating Jumbo Tsuruta for the AJPW Triple Crown. I was initially going to go with Misawa's defeat of Jumbo in 1989 because it's more important long term but I was mistaken in believing he won the title there, as that wouldn't come for a few more years, so this was the next best option for something a bit different. Although in hindsight it may not seem as major because Tenryu's star faded and he didn't become the mega-star everyone thought he would (which was entirely his own fault for leaving All Japan at the height of his popularity and push) it was a definite passing of the torch moment from one of the stalwarts of the 80s to one of the men looked at as the next big thing. Plus, the match itself is phenomenal like all of their series of matches were.

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Last edited by X : 10-18-2015 at 04:25 PM.
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  #17  
Old 10-18-2015, 08:21 PM
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There are a few that come to mind:

- Steamboat beats Savage: One of my favourite all time matches that set the bar for Mania matches.

- Ultimate Warrior beats HTM: The was before the internet ruined surprises for everyone... I remember popping when I heard his music, and then for it to only last seconds was great.

- Steamboat beats Flair at Chi Town Rumble: I know that the third match of the trilogy gets a lot of hype with Flair winning the belt back, but I prefer this match as Ricky winning was not expected. Flair was going to get the strap back, we all knew.

- Tie: Arquette wins WCW title and Russo wins WCW title: Iconic for all the wrong reasons and part of what led to WCW hitting the tank.

- Michaels beats Hart in the screw job: No title change since Hogan beating Shiek changed the course of wrestling as much as this did.
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